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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 6916

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.


Publication type: Journal Article

Pakenham-Walsh N, Eddleston M, Kaur M.
Developing world needs access to low cost pharmaceutical information from reliable sources.
BMJ 1999 Nov 6; 319:(7219):1265,


The authors find the results of a published survey by Hafeez and Mirza on drug companies’ responses to requests for information in Pakistan particularly worrying because the biased information from drug companies is often the only type of information that prescribers have access to. The findings are an indictment of the pharmaceutical industry’s approach in the developing world, but the fact that most prescribers in the developing world do not have adequate access to reliable generic information is an indictment of the international health community. What is needed is universal access to free or low cost information from a reliable source. The decision by the BMJ Publishing Group to make the electronic British National Formulary (eBNF) available online is applauded. The effort to get information online will always be a barrier, so low cost printed formularies with a quality and objectivity parallel to those of the BNF should be made affordable to all prescribers, and their value and use vigorously promoted by the international health community at large.

*letter to the editor/United Kingdom/Pakistan/developing countries/ Costs and Cost Analysis Developing Countries* Drug Industry* Drug Information Services/supply & distribution* Formularies Health Services Needs and Demand Humans


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What these howls of outrage and hurt amount to is that the medical profession is distressed to find its high opinion of itself not shared by writers of [prescription] drug advertising. It would be a great step forward if doctors stopped bemoaning this attack on their professional maturity and began recognizing how thoroughly justified it is.
- Pierre R. Garai (advertising executive) 1963